Howdy y’all. I’m Don Allmon and I got a debut book name of The Glamour Thieves. It’s the first of a three book series called The Blue Unicorn. It’s a grim kind of fantasy, a cybernetic near-dystopia, a rough-edged romance with few promises except for the ones that matter. Ain’t nothin’ worth earnin’ that wasn’t hard won. Join in on the comments and win yourself some loot.
Building The Glamour Thieves
Worldbuilding and story building are the same thing for me. The seed for the story was this tableau: An orc trucker picks up a hitchhiking elf in a post-apocalyptic landscape. (The story has evolved quite a bit since then.)
I needed to build a world that would justify that scene.
The basic idea for the setting came from a roleplaying game called Shadowrun which mashes together traditional high fantasy (elves, orks, magic, etc.) with cyberpunk. It’s got all the usual things you find in both cyberpunk and urban supernatural fiction, including an Awakening (when magic comes back and magical races like elves appear), augmented reality, drones, etc.
From there, the next step is to elaborate on those aspects of the world that impact my characters the most. And that’s where other books started influencing the world.
Greg Bear’s novel Darwin’s Radio is about the sudden emergence of a new genetically mutated species of human, and society’s rather poor response to that event. I didn’t borrow anything specific from that book, but when I thought about the “zero-generation” of orcs and elves appearing in my world, I tried to keep the widespread fear and confusion Bear portrays in mind.
William Gibson’s Spook Country introduced me to “locative art”: virtual art that can only be seen by someone wearing augmented reality glasses. It combined the idea of GPS and augmented reality, which I thought was pretty damn cool, and I knew I wanted to include it. In my world, though, augmented reality and GPS is available to almost everyone. That means locative art would be everywhere. I came up with the City Netspace: once a virtual “museum” of sorts, now a guerilla artists’ playground.
Drones are so commonplace in rl anymore, they’re not even sci-fi. So I mashed them together with the cyberpunk idea of simulated stimuli. If stimuli like touching or vision could be simulated by implants and programming, then there was no reason you couldn’t feel a touch through a device you were linked to. A device like a drone. Or a car. And there was no reason that sensation couldn’t be erotic. Finally we get to the fun question: What parts of a car would some horny engineer make erogenous? Well, the hood ornament, obviously!
I really wanted to push this idea even further and do some really porny mecha stuff, but it didn’t fit into the story. An idea for later.
So the tl;dr version of where this world came from: It came from a single scene and a basic, generic idea for the world. From there I combined various ideas and imagined what came next.
But the trick to all that was the basic question: What world do I need so I can tell JT and Austin’s story?
About The Glamour Thieves
JT is an orc on the way up. He’s got his own boutique robotics shop, high-end clientele, and deep-pocketed investors. He’s even mentoring an orc teen who reminds him a bit too much of himself back in the day.
Then Austin shows up, and the elf’s got the same hard body and silver tongue as he did two years ago when they used to be friends and might have been more. He’s also got a stolen car to bribe JT to saying yes to one last scheme: stealing the virtual intelligence called Blue Unicorn.
Soon JT’s up to his tusks in trouble, and it ain’t just zombies and Chinese triads threatening to tear his new life apart. Austin wants a second chance with JT—this time as more than just a friend—and even the Blue Unicorn is trying to play matchmaker.
Available now from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/the-glamour-thieves
About Don Allmon
In his night job, Don Allmon writes science fiction, fantasy, and romance. In his day job, he’s an IT drone. He holds a master of arts in English literature from the University of Kansas and wrote his thesis on the influence of royal hunting culture on medieval werewolf stories. He’s a fan of role-playing games, both video and tabletop. He has lived all over from New York to San Francisco, but currently lives on the prairies of Kansas with many animals.
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To celebrate the release of The Glamour Thieves, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 2, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!